“David.” Here in Ezekiel 34:23, the Messiah is called “David.” This is the figure of speech antonomasia, “name change,” where a person is called by a name other than his or her own name in order to import characteristics from the other person. Here the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is called “David” because the reign of David, especially early on, was a glorious time in Israel, and David was a man after God’s own heart. Thus the literal David was a type of the “David” to come, Jesus Christ, who will save people from their sins and reign over a glorious kingdom. The Messiah is called “David” in Ezekiel 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25, as well as Jeremiah 30:9 and Hosea 3:5. Other examples of antonomasia in the Bible include John the Baptist being called “Elijah” (Mal. 4:5), and Jehu being called “Zimri” (2 Kings 9:31).
We can tell that the name “David” actually refers to the Messiah from the context, which is about the glory of Jesus’s coming kingdom on earth, when Jesus will rule the earth, God will judge evil people, God’s people will no longer be the prey of the strong and ruthless but will be properly shepherded and fed, God will be their God, there will be a new covenant, evil animals will cease and people will be safe and secure, and the weather will be a blessing so crops will grow abundantly (Ezek. 34:25ff).
[For more information on antonomasia, see commentary on Matthew 17:10. For more information on Jesus’ future rule on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].